If there’s one consistent criticism that has been attached to Anthony Davis’ name throughout his career, it’s his durability and availability. Last season further emphasized this, as Davis spent majority of the team’s title defense season on the sidelines nursing not one, not two but several ligament issues. That is why this year, all eyes will be on the big man to see how well he responds to what has become the biggest nemesis of his career — injuries.
And so far, it’s looking like AD is ready to make a statement this season.
Based on the recent photos dispatched from the Lakers’ media day and training camp, one doesn’t have to be a fitness expert to know that Davis spent a lot of time in the weight room this summer. Four months after his hyperextended right knee and groin injury knocked him out of the postseason, the Brow returned to the Lakers’ training facility looking fitter, fresher and stronger than last season.
Well, to everyone except Rajon Rondo:
"I think he's been doing like maybe 18 pushups a night" lmao Rondo pic.twitter.com/h5uv3ADOqq— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) September 29, 2021
But in his first interview with the media this season, Davis did emphasize that his body was indeed his No. 1 priority in the summer.
“I’ve missed games in my career, but the Achilles missing 30, not being able to play at full strength in the playoffs against Phoenix, didn’t play Game 5, that didn’t sit well with me. So I made an emphasis on just taking care of my body and getting it back to what it was as far as strength-wise my first year here,” Davis said. “That was my biggest focus this summer.”
“My body feels great. It was a lot of just waist strengthening, getting the Achilles back right. The Achilles was actually fine towards playoff time, but then it was the groin and the knee, so that was the main focus this summer. Just basically starting from scratch and building my body back up to where I’m comfortable again, and I feel like I got to that point.”
A complete offseason was exactly what AD needed to get back on track. Unlike last season (when he only had 72 days combined to recover and train), Davis spent three months this year rehabbing, lifting weights and working on his game. His new physique is possibly another sign that he will play more minutes at the 5 this season — something he also confirmed to the media last week.
Healthy Anthony Davis was different. pic.twitter.com/eLD9WMjprz— Ryan Rueda (@iDude14) September 16, 2021
The last time a healthy and well-rested Anthony Davis had a full offseason was two years ago, when he averaged 26.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 34.4 minutes per game. This was the same AD that was included on the All-NBA First Team, was the runner-up for the Defensive Player of the Year award, was arguably the Lakers’ best player in the NBA Bubble and was selected as a starter in the All-Star game held at his hometown, Chicago.
This is the Anthony Davis the Lakers need if they want to win a championship this season.
At least AD has proven numerous times that he’s always capable of bouncing back, no matter the circumstances. Whether that’s scoring 34 points in a Game 4 western conference battle vs. the Denver Nuggets after a bad Game 3 or hitting that game-winner in Nikola Jokic’s face seconds after the latter scored on him, a vengeful Anthony Davis is always a welcome sight to see.
And hopefully Davis’ best friend on the team and co-star LeBron James’s manifesting skills are on point after the latter claimed that this is going to be AD’s best season yet. Only time will tell if AD gets to pull off the best revenge season tour ever, but at least for now, the Brow believes he and his team are physically and mentally ready to endure what is expected to be a challenging (but fun) season ahead.
“I think all guys on the team are healthy and ready to go,” Davis said.
So say hello to a healthier and hungrier Anthony Davis, Lakers fans. He was missed last season, but he certainly appears to be back now.